The Tastiest Dishes & Most Delicious Cocktails of 2019

tastiest drinks
A celebratory Piña Colada on a sunny afternoon in Maui

Tasty Dishes & Enticing Cocktails

I began my search for the tastiest dishes of the year by sifting through my photos starting in January. However, by the time I reached the month of June, I had already chosen 30 different tantalizing feasts for the eyes! How to choose?

Be honest, do you want to see that many of my “highlights”? I don’t believe so. Therefore, I carefully looked for colorful, unique meals and surprisingly incredible drinks that are worth celebrating once again. A few of them are favorites due to their unique nature or element of surprise!

I have narrowed down this list to a more manageable number and I hope you enjoy revisiting them as much as I do!

Read moreThe Tastiest Dishes & Most Delicious Cocktails of 2019

Give Yourself A Delightful New Book Called Don’t Overthink It

new book called Don't Overthink It

Check out this thought-provoking new book called Don’t Overthink It

Are you looking for illuminating practical suggestions to take your everyday life to a new level? Does facing annoying personal habits sound daunting? This book will help smooth out the wrinkles in your decision strategies and most certainly put a smile on your face.

Reading is a huge passion of mine and almost borders on obsession. I can never be reading a book without several more in line for my next read. My TBR (to be read) list is long, and I often read two (sometimes three) books at once. To be clear, one could be a novel, another personal development, and a third is likely a memoir about a chef. It depends upon my mood and the amount of time I have to read at the moment. 

Read moreGive Yourself A Delightful New Book Called Don’t Overthink It

Come With Us On A Relaxing Winter Weekend Getaway to Phoenix

getaway to Phoenix

An Empty Nester Getaway to Phoenix

Looking for sweet relief from the struggles of winter? A quick getaway to Phoenix, Arizona might be just what the doctor ordered. Are you contemplating a seasonal escape, sick of cold temps and wet Sundays? Do dreams of a round of golf on a pristine course surrounded by happy cacti, as far as you can see, sound amazing?

You get the idea. This post is the second in a series of collaborations with my friends at Hotels.com. It is fun to re-focus on destinations that may or may not get a lot of love from travel experts. I am thrilled to offer you a spark of an idea, an inspiration or a reminder of a city you haven’t visited in a while. A trip to Arizona is on our schedule for next month! More on that in a minute.

Read moreCome With Us On A Relaxing Winter Weekend Getaway to Phoenix

My Connection Between “Lost in Translation” & My Stay at Park Hyatt Tokyo

stay at Park Hyatt Tokyo
Cheers from my table at the New York Grill at Park Hyatt Tokyo

The recent celebration of the Academy Awards prompted me to share this special story of my spectacular stay at Park Hyatt Tokyo and how a movie influenced my experience.

A movie that sparked a dream

17 years ago, back when I was not a travel writer or even much of a traveler, I saw a film that captivated me. Lost in Translation was a film with an Oscar-winning screenplay starring comedian Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, a fantastic rising star. A large part of the movie essentially took place in an impressive, upscale, chic, I had never seen anything like this hotel in Tokyo, Japan called Park Hyatt Tokyo. 

stay at Park Hyatt Tokyo
One of many spectacular views of Tokyo from Park Hyatt Tokyo

I was enchanted by the dazzling city views out the hotel’s high rise windows. The elegant interior design and chic cocktail bar were total fantasy to me. Travel to Japan just wasn’t that common in my circle and this fact made the movie seem even more exciting and mysterious.

Back then, I truly never dreamed I would ever see and certainly never stay at a hotel like Park Hyatt Tokyo. I was a suburban mom with a limited budget, a packed schedule and busy children where this type of travel was not a realistic endeavor. Travel here was just too far out of my realm of thinking. 

Read moreMy Connection Between “Lost in Translation” & My Stay at Park Hyatt Tokyo

More Downsizing, Too Many Photos, More Lessons Learned

downsizing
My renovated kitchen nook and library – My happy place.

Empty Nester Downsizing:  Are you doing this?

The downsizing continues… More sifting, sorting, tossing and saving. Are you doing this? Lately, I seem to read a lot about how people are downsizing, buying smaller homes and some of them have adapted to a nomadic lifestyle. They just travel and don’t even have a permanent home any longer. 

Our children now are grown, we looked around and noticed… we have lots of stuff. I’ve written in the past about how we had a much bigger home and downsized to a smaller home which we completely renovated. The entire experience was a gratifying and exciting adventure. However, what we came to understand was that we collected too many personal possessions! Sound familiar?

Read moreMore Downsizing, Too Many Photos, More Lessons Learned

A Romantic Weekend For Two – Is it time to make a plan?

a romantic weekend
Enjoying the Seattle Hyatt Regency Club Level outdoor patio

A Romantic Weekend

Is a romantic weekend for two on your travel list for this year? If it isn’t, you may want to think a little harder, be a little more creative for your sweetheart. Don’t have a significant other? Grab a friend or a grown child and go, because everyone deserves a bit of me time.

Read moreA Romantic Weekend For Two – Is it time to make a plan?

Super Bowl Bound? Here are several fun things to do in Miami Beach!

fun things to do in Miami Beach

 

Fun things to do in Miami Beach

 

My friends at Hotels.com asked me to share a few fun things to do in Miami Beach! The whole world will be watching the vibrant city of Miami, Florida on Sunday February 2, 2020, because Super Bowl LIV will be played at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Families, empty nesters, couples and friend groups will travel away from the winter blues and down to where the sun shines virtually every day. Travel to Miami is red hot right now.

Read moreSuper Bowl Bound? Here are several fun things to do in Miami Beach!

What a fantastic year! My Top Travel Highlights of 2019

 

travel highlights
Our spectacular view from the Hyatt Residence Club, Kaanapali, Maui.

Hello friends & Happy New Year – I hope that you were able to hang out with family and friends, devour some delicious meals and maybe even find a little adventure! We enjoyed all of these things too!

travel highlights in Wyoming
Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Absolutely breathtaking!

It has been a fabulous year of travel!

Wow, to narrow down my top travel highlights of the year was truly a challenge. 2019 was one heck of a travel adventure full of eclectic destinations, firsts and second time visits, discovery and nature so big it takes your breath away. Literally.

January began with a relaxing but rainy week in Maui and then the travel wheels got moving very quickly! No time for resting, extraordinary destinations were waiting for us to arrive.

I know that you are super busy and you cannot always make time to read every single one of my posts… so here are some of the top travel highlights and links to their respective posts. I once again want to thank you for being here and for reading and commenting on my adventures. I truly appreciate you.

My goal is to provide you with helpful, interesting info that you couldn’t find anywhere else!

Read moreWhat a fantastic year! My Top Travel Highlights of 2019

Love & Gratitude at Christmas in The Empty Nest

 

Christmas in the Empty Nest

Christmas in the Empty Nest seems to be a little different each year as we move forward. Did you know that many empty nesters are Googling and researching “How to be happy in The Empty Nest at Christmas?” Yep, many may be new at this Empty Nest adventure and it might not feel very good right now.

In the past when the children were young, every Christmas holiday was pretty similar to the next. We embraced the family traditions that we started when they were little and my husband Craig and I divided and conquered as we raced around trying to find everything on their lists. We made the same traditional cookies, attended the same Holiday Programs at school and found the perfect present for gift exchanges.

Read moreLove & Gratitude at Christmas in The Empty Nest

Where to Eat in Pasadena: Recommendations From a Local

Where to Eat in Pasadena!

Pasadena is only ten miles from Downtown Los Angeles (aka DTLA) and is a popular place to visit all year round. I grew up near here and moved back to the Crown City five years ago. Historic Pasadena boasts incredible architecture and now the downtown area has been completely revitalized and has changed a great deal for the better. The shopping, dining and activity options are stellar and most people already know about the famous Colorado Blvd. This is the street where The Tournament of Roses Parade marches for 5.5 miles every year on January 1.

Read moreWhere to Eat in Pasadena: Recommendations From a Local

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